A good headset can make a big difference when playing games. Whether you like to get immersed in the game with the music of sound effects or you need to hear every enemy footstep to know where they are, choosing the right pair of headphones for you can be quite a task. You should look at overall build quality, how comfortable they are, how they sound, and if the microphone sounds good. If you don’t need a microphone, then most wired, critical listening headphones would be a good option.
We've tested over 510 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best gaming headsets to buy. Also, see our recommendations for the best PS4 headsets, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best wireless gaming headsets.
The best gaming headset we've tested is the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. These over-ear gaming headphones have a premium, very sturdy-feeling metal design with a flexible microphone that can also retract into the left ear cup. Combined with support for wired connections, they have a bit of versatility for more casual use. Their easy-to-use control scheme and 15-hour plus battery life should keep your gaming sessions interruption-free.
Their most unique feature is their base transmitter, which provides a low-latency wireless connection with your PC or PS4 console as well as support for on-the-fly channel mixing and EQ customization. Out-of-the-box, their overall sound profile is extremely accurate, which should provide high amounts of detail across your listening experience, although that can be tailored to your liking in the SteelSeries Engine app. Their great microphone ensures your voice sounds full-bodied, distortion-free, and clear of any background noise.
Unfortunately, their restrictive headband means they fit a little tight, especially if you have a large head. They also lack functionality if you’re using them with an Xbox One console: You’ll get audio, but no microphone support. If you like how they fit and game on PC or PS4, though, they’re a great choice.
If you’re looking for an even more customizable alternative, check out the Logitech G933 Wireless Gaming Headset. They lack the high-end build quality of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're compatible with Logitech’s G HUB software, which allows for a huge degree of personalization. Not only does the app include traditional features like a graphic EQ and volume mixing controls, but it also allows you to remap the three physical buttons on the headset for a variety of commands, including switching audio presets and changing lighting effects. They come with audio and RCA cables so that you can plug them into your phone, console controller, or home theater setup without too much of a hassle.
If you prioritize premium build quality and a rich feature set, get the SteelSeries, but if you’re the type to tweak and optimize every inch of your gaming experience, take a look at the Logitech.
The best wired gaming headset we've tested is the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. Thanks to their wired connection, these headphones keep lag and dwindling battery life from interrupting your gameplay. They come in PS4 or Xbox One variants, and PC users can use either model.
If you like to tweak and personalize your sound experience as you go, the included MixAmp lets you toggle between several different EQ presets. You can also use it to control your channel mixing volume. They have an exceptional boom microphone that helps ensure you're heard clearly by your teammates, even in loud environments like gaming tournaments. Keep in mind that while their open-back design provides a wide and natural soundstage, it also makes it difficult to hear your audio while gaming in noisy environments.
Out-of-the-box, they have a weak and uneven treble that some may not like. Luckily, the Astro Command Center companion software offers a full graphic EQ that can help you find the right sound for your needs.
If you're looking for more affordable wired gaming headphones that are also versatile enough to use casually with your phone, get the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset. They don't have the same wide soundstage as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, and they feel a lot more cheaply made, but they're a lot less expensive. Their boom microphone performs outstandingly well, and they're quite comfortable for long gaming sessions. They also come with a surprising number of accessories given the price point, like a dedicated mobile audio cable with an in-line remote and microphone, as well as extra ear cup padding. Their sound profile can vary a lot between different users, but they generally sound quite neutral, and you can also tweak the way they sound with Logitech's G HUB software.
Get the Astro if you prefer a more premium design with a dedicated amp for more control options. However, if you prefer a more casual design that's still good for gaming, get the Logitech.
The best gaming headset for Xbox One is the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. These wireless gaming headphones come with a base station that you can use to charge the headphones. Overall, they're very comfortable and well-built, and their over 17-hour continuous battery life is ideal for long gaming sessions.
They have a neutral default sound profile with a little extra boom in the bass range to help bring action-packed scenes to life. If you prefer a different sound, there's a graphic EQ and presets available in the Astro Command Center companion software. Their boom microphone has an impressive overall performance, and you can also adjust the microphone levels using the software.
Unfortunately, these headphones don't block out a lot of background noise, so you can still hear the voices of people around you while you're gaming. They also leak a bit of sound, which may be annoying to the people around you. That said, if you're gaming at home, these headphones are a solid choice for Xbox One users.
The best gaming headset in the budget range that we've tested is the HyperX Cloud Stinger. These headphones have a very comfortable fit that's well-suited to long gaming sessions with your friends. Thanks to their wired-only design, they have negligible latency, and you don't have to worry about running out of battery.
With their bass-heavy sound profile, you can really feel the thumps and rumbles from action-packed scenes in your favorite games when wearing these headphones. Their boom microphone has an impressive recording quality, too, so your teammates can hear you clearly, even if you're gaming in a noisy setting. You can also use them with both PS4 and Xbox One, so you just plug them into your controller for full audio and microphone compatibility.
Unfortunately, these headphones don't isolate against a lot of background noise, which may be disappointing if you game in a lively home environment. They don't come with any customization features, either. If you're willing to pay a little extra for a similar gaming headset with a few more features, you can also check out the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. That said, these headphones are still a solid choice for gamers shopping on a budget.
If you're looking for a pair of gaming headphones with a boom microphone that you can remove for a more casual look, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 1. While they aren't as well-built or as comfortable as the HyperX Cloud Stinger, these wired-only headphones boast an impressive microphone performance. Their recording quality is great, and your voice sounds clear and full-bodied to your teammates even if you're gaming in a noisy environment. Their sound profile is a bit more neutral than the HyperX, so you may not feel bass-heavy sounds as deeply. They're also compatible with both PS4 and Xbox One consoles, which is convenient.
If you want a more comfortable, better-built headset with a more bass-heavy sound, check out the HyperX, but if you prefer a headset with a detachable boom microphone and a more neutral sound, consider the SteelSeries instead.
10/09/2020: Added the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset as a Notable Mention.
09/11/2020: Replaced the Corsair HS60 with the HyperX Cloud Stinger to reflect pricing changes, added the SteelSeries Arctis 1 as 'Alternative with a Detachable Mic'.
08/12/2020: Updated text for clarity and accuracy, no change in recommendations.
02/21/2020: Replaced SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless with Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless 2019. Updated price discrepancy for Corsair HS60.
01/21/2020: Removed 'Best Home Theater Alternative', 'Best Earbuds for Gaming'. The Arctis Pro GameDAC is now mentioned with the Arctis Pro Wireless text instead of being a selection on its own.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best gaming headphones and the best gaming earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphones reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you don't care about having a microphone or wireless features.